Riverheads football wins fourth straight state championship

The Gladiators beat Galax 31-24 for the class one title

Riverheads and Stuarts Draft HS football highlights

CHARLOTTESVILLE, V.A. (WVIR) - The Riverheads High School football team won its fourth straight class one state championship Saturday beating Glalax 31-24.

“I don’t think we have been in a close game all year,” says Riverheads senior quarterback Elijah Dunlap. “We just stayed the course. I was telling some of the guys before the game. No matter what happens, we have to stay the course because you never know what’s going to happen in a football game.”

Riverheads junior running back and linebacker Zac Smiley rushed 17 times for 135 and two touchdowns. He also had a defensive touchdown, returning and interception for a score.

Smiley says, “To do it with your best friends, you spend months and months with them. Every day out in the field practicing from when it’s 95 degrees to when it’s cold and you can’t feel your hands. It means everything.”

“It’s really unbelievable. It’s almost surreal," says Riverheads head coach Robert Casto. "We have been here five straight times. We’ve won four in a row and I have said it with a bunch of different people that asked me the question, I am really happy that I am here.”

It is the seventh state championship for Riverheads in school history.

In the class two state finals, Stuarts Draft loses to Appomattox 42-21. A remarkable season for the Cougars ends with a loss.

“Every since I was in middle school I wanted to get here and finally got here," says SDHS senior Freddie Watkins. “The game didn’t turn out how we wanted but it was a great season. I loved playing with all these people.”

"They gave me the best senior season I could ever ask for, says SDHS senior Kasey Branch. “Great people. I love everyone on the team. We’re all brothers, we’ll always be brothers.”

“I think we proved a lot of people wrong,” says SDHS head coach Nathan Floyd. “It’s because of these kids and the work they put in and effort. They left everything out on the field just like they have every game previously. These guys can walk off the field with their heads held high.”

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